With former Vice President Joe Biden's entry into the presidential sweepstakes, a serious dilemma faces Democratic party voters who perhaps above all are committed to defeating Donald Trump in 2020.
Should they support the candidate most pundits believe has the best chance of sending Trump packing and thus elect a man who would be 78 on inauguration day, or should they support someone much younger who is in tune with their more liberal agenda?
Lord knows there are plenty of options with 20 announced candidates to choose from, including six women, three African Americans, a 30-something midwestern mayor who is gay, one Hispanic and one Asian man in the field.
Then, there is septuagenarian Sen. Bernie Sanders who remarkably polls the best of anyone among younger Democratic voters. And, he's not even a Democrat in the true sense of the word. He's actually an independent who votes with the Democratic caucus in the Senate.
Social media is alive with this argument. This exchange on Facebook is a good example:
Angela -- "I’m not sure about voting for a President that will be 78 years old when he would be sworn in. I know we have to get a Democrat in office but we need to think about this hard!"
Melinda --"I agree with you. That also refers to Bernie. I would love to see change, young blood. I believe the "new" group of voters may be looking for something new."
Michael -- "Check the polls. Bernie leads among young voters by a wide margin. Keep listening to the corporate owned media to absorb the corporate propaganda."
Susan -- "Regardless of who is in the primary-we all have to get behind who ever wins the Democratic nomination. They can't rip each other apart in the primaries either as that will only give the GOP ammunition. There is no point in us trashing any of them at this point. Listen make your choice, vote in the primary, then get out and pound the pavement for the nominee and vote in the general election."
As Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote today:
Joe Biden’s limitations as a presidential candidate are so obvious that they’re almost a litany: He’s too old, too white, too male, too touchy-feely, too loquacious. But he has one huge plus: He may be the person who could move President Trump out of the White House.
Biden, the former vice president, rightly put the obligation of replacing Trump at the center of his announcement Thursday that he’s running. “The core values of this nation — our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America, America — is at stake,” he said.
Ignatius went on to point out that progressive activists within the party are generating ideas and energy that could galvanize a country that wants a fairer economy and a cleaner government. Such messages are being heard from candidates Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and certainly South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, among many of the others.
But none of these ideas will matter, wrote Ignatius, unless a Democrat wins. The damage Trump would do in a second term might not be undone for decades. In thinking about their party's nominee, paradoxically, Democrats must put the country first.
I agree with Ignatius' assessment. I listened to nearly every minute of the five-hour CNN "Town Hall" with Harris, Buttigieg, Warren, Sanders and Klobuchar, and while it was helpful, I did not come away with any solid conclusions -- except that I disagreed with Sanders' statement that violent felons should be given the right to vote while in prison.
But in the end, whether it is Biden or one of the other candidates, Democrats must coalesce around their eventual nominee and work as hard as they can to defeat Trump.
I just hope they nominate a candidate who can restore civility, who will tell the truth, who will represent the average person and not the big money interests, who will restore environmental protections and, above all, who will fight for fairness and equality for every man, woman and child in our nation.